WHEN MY DAD HAD cancer, we’d take walks through the neighborhood. One day, on our stroll, we met a neighbor, Ted. My dad introduced me. “This is my son, Denny, he’s taking care of me.”
Ted gave me a smile and said, “I hope my son will take care of me if I need help.”
Not long after that conversation, my dad was in hospice care. My mother and I were standing over his bed.
I SAID GOODBYE TO my career in the retail industry nearly five years ago, at age 39. I’d had my eye on early retirement as soon as I entered the workforce.
My first job out of college was with an upstart retailer, where I worked 80-hour weeks for many years as I sought to improve my skills, knowledge and reputation. I did well, earned multiple promotions, and had high hopes for a life-changing payout from the company’s planned initial stock offering.
LIKE MANY WHO THINK about where they’d like to retire, we’ve always had a vague list of wants: comfortable climate, walkability, good health care, access to cultural events and outdoor activities, friendly tax regime, reasonable cost of living, that sort of thing.
I wrote previously about feeling stuck for many years in a place where we didn’t want to stay, but also not really having one place where we felt drawn to settle, whether for a few years or permanently.
MY WIFE CALLS HER 99-year-old mother every morning. One morning, her mother asked, “Are you making big things happen?” After Rachel reminds her mother that she’s retired, her mother asked, “How do you make money?”
Although I chuckled when I heard the conversation, those two questions are probably on most folks’ minds as they prepare for retirement. First, how are they going to generate enough income to fund their retirement? Second, how are they going to stay busy doing meaningful activities?
FULL OF PROMISES AND plans, we start retirement in our 60s. It surprises me when people reach age 65 and say, “I don’t feel old.” That’s because, at 65, we aren’t.
We’re still in our go-go years. We still have the time and energy to conquer the world, visit new places, experience new adventures. The 70s, by contrast, are the slow-go years. Maybe we need replacement parts, to slather on Bengay, to load up on Advil.
MANY RETIREES ARE looking for ways to supplement their income. Others would like something interesting to occupy their time and allow them to stay productive and engaged—and, if it brings in a few dollars, all the better.
We’re fortunate to live in the internet age, with the opportunities that it offers. Previously, retirement-income sources consisted mainly of pensions, stocks, bonds, rental real estate and part-time work. Today, there are many other choices, including a few you may not have heard about.
DURING THE 1990s, I subscribed for several years to Worth, a financial magazine that targets high-net-worth individuals. I enjoyed reading articles that were, for the most part, geared toward folks in a far loftier tax bracket.
One article, in particular, stayed with me: “The Rise and Fall of Retirement” by Stephen M. Pollan and Mark Levine, which appeared in the December-January 1995 edition. Pollan died in 2018. His daughter is Tracy Pollan,
MY WIFE AND I TOOK a two-week trip to Ireland. We flew to Dublin and stayed at the Hotel Riu Plaza. If you’re ever on the run and need a hiding place, just ask for a room on floor 2C. They’ll never find you because of the strange floor plan. All things considered, the Riu Plaza is a fine hotel at a reasonable price, with a good buffet breakfast to start your day.
After touring Dublin for four days,
IT’S CHALLENGING TO GO from saving during our working years to spending in retirement. Our solution: Use a modified version of the 4% rule.
Financial planner William Bengen was the first person to articulate the 4% rule. He wanted to know how much people could withdraw from their investments each year and still not run out of money. Through extensive back-testing, he found that if folks withdrew 4% in the first year, and thereafter increased this amount each year for inflation,
WHEN I RETIRED, I thought about creating a website and writing about my retirement. I looked into what it would take to build a site and have someone edit my work. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the only ones who would probably visit my site would be my sister, brother-in-law and maybe a few curious friends. It wouldn’t be worth the time, effort and money—especially when HumbleDollar offers all the benefits an unknown and inexperienced writer needs.
GOOGLE THE QUESTION, “How many Americans live on a fixed income?” You won’t find an answer. But we all know “fixed income” is used endlessly to describe the plight of us seniors.
For example, there’s this from the National Council on Aging: “Living on a fixed income generally applies to older adults who are no longer working and collecting a regular paycheck. Instead, they depend mostly or entirely on fixed payments from sources such as Social Security,
LIKE MANY IMMIGRANTS living in the U.S., I regularly return to my hometown to visit family and friends. My trips to Kolkata are usually short and jam-packed, seeing not just contemporaries, but also the older generation, including aunts and uncles, my parents’ friends and my friends’ parents.
My two recent visits—one last fall and the other this spring—were no exception, but I had mixed feelings this time. Most of the older generation are now in their 70s and early 80s,
RECENT HUMBLEDOLLAR articles have addressed issues of aging, including defrauding the elderly, end-of-life considerations and preparing our homes to age in place. It must be the season for worrying about the elderly because I’ve also had their welfare on my mind, thanks to several recent events.
First, a friend’s 93-year-old mother fell down a flight of steps in her home. A faulty handle came loose from a door at the top of a staircase,
AS A RETIREE FOR WHOM Social Security payments are my financial foundation, it’s worrying to hear about a potential cut in benefits 11 years from now—because I’ve seen this movie before.
If Congress does nothing, benefits would drop 23% in 2034. It’s an unfathomable situation, but one that most pundits believe is unlikely. Let’s hope. Thankfully, I feel secure that my state pension—one third of my monthly income—will stay solvent.
More than 40 years ago,
AH, RETIREMENT. You’re blissfully free of the daily grind. If you’ve made plans for this long-awaited milestone, great. What if you haven’t? You may feel out of sync and out of sorts.
I’ve heard it said that, “The capacity to take a fresh look at all things makes a young person out of an old person.” It’s never too late to look anew at the challenges of retirement, while you still have time to resolve them.